The 411

March 28, 2019
8:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

CEC Training Facility
1900 Merivale Road, Suite 206
Ottawa, ON K2G 4N4

$675 (+hst)
Discounts available.


Meet the Instructor

Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown is a science and medicine writer and editor with 18 years' experience at Canada's two largest scientific publishers - Canadian Medical Association publications and NRC Research Press.

read bio


"I liked the practical aspects, choosing a specific article and being able to flesh out ideas. The personal attention was really beneficial."



You've written reports, or news stories, or maybe scientific papers. But now you want to explain your story to a broader audience reading a magazine or newsletter, or to take your readers beyond the facts to an in-depth understanding of the issues. You want to write a feature article.

What is a feature, and how does it differ from other forms of writing? How do you go about researching, outlining, and writing a feature? Why is it one of the toughest types of story to write, yet one of the most rewarding?

If you want to write a feature that pulls in readers from the first paragraph and keeps them glued to the page until the last, then this workshop is for you.

Participants will read excellent features, to understand what makes them features, and what makes them work. They will learn how to make sure they have all of the information and interviews they need before putting pen to paper. And then they will learn how to structure the story and how to approach the writing in an original, fresh way. Group interaction and inspiration are part of the experience, sharing ideas and approaches in a constructive environment. Come with ideas for feature stories you would like to write.




8:45 - 9:15 Introductions and Workshop Overview
9:15 - 10:30 What is a Feature?
  • Read and discuss examples
  • Contrast with other types of writing/stories
  • Ideas for features - keeping the scope right
  • Exercise: prepare and share ideas
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 12:00 Researching a Feature
  • Having a research plan
  • Finding the facts - sources
  • Interview "hit list"
  • Exercise: prepare a research plan for your feature
  • Interviewing for a feature
  • Exercise: interview a colleague
  • Risk of "over-researching"
Feature Structure
  • Common structures with examples
  • Exercise: pick a structure for your idea
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:30 Prepare an Outline
  • What an outline looks like
  • Deciding what to put in and leave out
  • Organizing the pieces
  • Exercise: prepare an outline for your story
Put Pen to Paper
  • Creativity - say something original, in a new way
  • Exercise: creative writing
  • Beginnings and endings: key to a good feature
  • Exercise: write the beginning and end
14:30 - 14:45 Break
14:45 - 16:20 Put Pen to Paper (Continued)
  • How to structure the body, using the outline, leaving breaks
  • Head and deck
From Paper to Press
  • First drafts and rewrites
  • Getting feedback
  • Negotiating with editors
  • The publication process
16:20 - 16:30

Wrap-up and Workshop Evaluation

  • Participants will complete a short evaluation